Canadian flag in Toronto

This week’s Quirkos blog comes live from the IIQM Qualitative Health Research 2015 conference, in lovely Toronto. It’s been fun talking to people who are coming to the city for the first time, going up the CN Tower, watching the Blue Jays, and seeing the election results come in!

The conference has had a couple of themes, one of which was realist synthesis and evaluations, kick started by a keynote talk from Geoff Wang. He outlined his interpretation of the realist approach, and examining the world in terms of context, mechanisms, and outcomes. In this way we can plan and evaluate intervention strategies, and break down complex systems and interactions.

Integrating a qualitative approach into this method was alluded to in the talk, but with a focus in his view on realist synthesis using mixed methods. The debate and discussion in the afternoon continued this theme: for me the challenge is keeping a person and actor centred view.

I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting again with colleagues from the UK working on many qualitative different health issues, and also a chance to meet new faces from around the world. QHR is a very accessible and engaging conference, and people from all stages of their research career are both presenting and attending in force. It’s great to hear from research in so many different areas, and there is a really strong focus on experience in clinical settings.

And of course Quirkos is here as a sponsor! We have an exhibition stand in next to all the food (dangerous) and have been giving demonstrations to people from all over the world. And today we also have a demonstration session over lunch, which gives people a chance to see Quirkos in action.

So a big thank you to the whole conference team from the University of Alberta Institute of Qualitative Methods, especially Yvette, Bailey and Alex for running such a smooth ship, and making us all feel so welcome.